Last fall I posted a survey to find out what people have on their desktops, in part to see if there was any difference between what men and women use for background images. At the time, I was at a conference and had noticed that more men than women had photos of their kids as their desktop background, and wondered if women were concerned about not seeming professional enough. I'm not sure if my hypothesis survived the data, but it was interesting to see what people checked off in the survey: family photos vs. landscapes vs. geometric patterns etc. I thought I'd provided fairly comprehensive coverage for options in the survey, but today I realized I left out an option.
Today as I was sitting in a meeting, the man next to me had his laptop open, and after a while his screen saver came on. I glanced over and noticed that his screen saver was the kind that cycles stored photos. And this man had lots and lots of photos of .. himself. When he went back to his desktop, I was somewhat relieved to see that he does not have a photo of himself as his wallpaper (it was a standard factory-issued default abstract background). I was kind of fascinated by the self-screen-saver, and I developed two hypotheses, neither of which I was able to test, alas: (1) the obvious one: he's a flaming narcissist, or (2) he was borrowing his wife's computer and she thinks he's beautiful and has filled the computer with photos of her beloved.
Despite some evidence to the contrary, I did give this meeting lots of attention, gave my talk, shared my insights such as they are, and met some interesting people. I became briefly (and I hope subtly) unhinged when, minutes before my talk, I was told that my talk was being recorded (audio AND video) for posting on the internet so that the world (or, at least, my mother) can download it. I don't even like still images of myself, and I would make a terrible screen-saver.
11 months ago